But Not Tonight!

Ibrahim Waheed “Kalaavehi”

In the middle of the night, when the relaxed slumbered on with their heads on the soft mini-cushions supplied in business class, when the untroubled amongst then dived into delight-filled dreamland, the moon dared to look in through the windows of the airliner. She smiled. As she ruled over her dominion over the dark clouds, hushed in her dazzle, usually subdued in her gaze, detached from even her nearest in the darkness of the night, finding conscious life at leisure was a rare pleasure. Usually her fare was limited. Even in the darkest of nights, as clouds formed under her watchful gaze, a whispery wisp of white here, a puff of more profound vapor here, slowly shifting in the clear, frosty air like silent, formless marble statues made in the deserted reaches of the atmosphere for no one to see, she would make of it an exhibition. Her audience would usually be absent. But not tonight!

Inside the darkened cabin of the Boeing 777, most passengers slept on, wrapped cozily in their warm blankets, oblivious to the fact that the air they were breathing was actually heated and pressurized to humanly acceptable levels in contrast to the way-below-freezing, rarefied air outside. Despite the General Electric GE90 turbines roaring their hearts out just outside, it was so quiet inside that the only passenger who had his reading light on could hear his neighbor gently beginning to snore. And soon, in consideration of the gentle caring and camaraderie that total strangers develop when circumstances seat them side by side, he switched off the focused halogen light. Thirty nine thousand below them, the heavy, dark swells of the Atlantic looked up and saw an unknown star twinkle its way across the night sky, sometimes there, sometimes hidden by the banks of thick clouds, sometimes outshone by the moon.

As the moon looked in, she nodded, albeit symbolically, to the man. Living creature as described by dreamers and poets, and dead rock by the unimaginative smiled at the man. And she shared with him her secrets: Outside the captive sea of mixed gases surrounding the rock called Earth by one of its resident species, and yet supposedly held captive by that invisible force called gravity, the moon knew its realities, its position and its attributes, ascribed, attributed or inherent. Her secret, perhaps one she was not entirely conscious of herself, was that she shone only as long as she presented her face to her flaming day-time partner in the sky. Without the sun, the queen of the night sky, the giver of light to the most romantic of lovers, the wrongly-accused inciter of supreme lunacy, was certainly nothing better than a blemished rock in the sky, a senseless, hopeless satellite circling an apparently uncaring planet in endless circles! And yet, without the earth, the moon would probably fly off at great velocity into the vast unknown reaches of the universe.

As the man looked out, he nodded, smiling, to the moon. He was grateful as he listened to the moon and realized something that had eluded him for a long time: Nothing in all of creation was solitary in existence, required to be privately retiring, or complete in solitude. The moon needed the truth of the light of the sun to be visible, to be named, to be made worthy of a visit from a neighbor, to be defined, to be glorified, personified, made into the stuff of dreams and romance, made the subject of poems: Man needed something to look up to, something to make him see himself in relation to creation, to be defined as a living being, to function in society, to become a person of worth and self-respect, to forge ahead in life, in industry, in a chosen field of creation and creativity. The moon needed the pull of the earth and its own weaker pull to stay in gravitational balance, to stay in its circular track, to become the source of light for the walkers of the night roads, to become a source of soothing light for lovers holding hands on a beach, to light up the soul of a human being reduced to pouring out his heart into the silence of a lonely night: Man was built and hard-wired to accept the pull of a like soul to become an enlightened night-walker, to allow the partnership to forge ahead successfully in life, to savor the sweet delights of that wonderful gift called life. The moon accepted that age and mass notwithstanding, rock pulled rock into a circuit of ultimate sanity: Man realized that regardless of race, color, age or origins notwithstanding, soul must pull like soul into synchronized orbit and never let go.

Inside the cabin of the Boeing 777, it was still dark. Most passengers still slept on as the aircraft arrowed its way through the air towards Dulles International. The only passenger who had stayed up to have his conversation with the moon unfastened his safety belt, got up slowly and quietly, and walked up to the galley area where he could hear cabin crew speaking to each other in whispers. Instead of summoning a cabin attendant to his seat, he had chosen to go there and ask for a chilled tomato juice before he returned to his seat to savor the piquant notes on his appreciative tongue.

Outside, as the clouds continued to form under her watchful gaze, a whispery wisp of white here, a more profound puff there, moving almost imperceptibly in the chilly air like voiceless statues of white coral, the moon smiled to herself. For days, even years, she had been blamed for the ravings of the insane, the ghazals of the drunk, the poetry of the romantic, the heartaches of the lonely. Tonight, she had met a kindred soul and had shared her wisdom with him. Usually she went to bed in the morning after a quiet cry where no one would see her. But not tonight!

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  • Mysterystar  On October 13, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    The moon found her man.nice …thanks for sharing

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